Surely Not From An Oxford Student? That’s Just Not Cricket.

In a world of mean streets, ruthless knife crime and youthful uprising, we’re reported to be living in a nation run by our youth. In full concentration on the ‘hoodies’ and ‘yobs’ our country fears and blames for it’s social implications, we may be targeting the wrong stereotype. Then again, who ever heard of a rogue ‘poshie’?

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of watching Menhaj Huda’s gritty drama Kidulthood, you’ll have grasped the social concept that Huda was portraying in his film. Britain, for whatever reason, is slowly descending into the quasi-control of our teenagers. With a steady rise in knife crime, recreational drug use and teenage pregnancy rates, the government is straining it’s resources on turning our state comprehensives into rehabilitation centers of the socially unable.

Here’s my problem. While these ‘yobs’ patrol the streets at night with a bottle of Smirnoff Red in one hand, and concealing a kitchen knife in the other, they must, at some point, realise that their social power is limited. Yes, Britains youths may smash the social conventions and reject national authority and discipline, but they’re just banging at the door. Without the keys to the engine room, the cognition of our country will run as efficient as a 4-6-0 Grange class steam locomotive. Well, no, actually. My fear is that we’ve been aiming at the wrong dart board, and our problems do not lie with those who attend Parklands High, Liverpool, but those who dwell in the historic corridors of Eton. In stamping on the ‘hoodies’ and ‘yobs’, the ‘poshies’ have worked their way around the system.

Comedian and Frest Meat star Jack Whitehall is a prime example of the threat our nation has remained oblivious too. Whitehall’s character, JP, in Fresh Meat is portrayed as an acid taking, binge drinking, sexually allusive loner. For those who have not watched Fresh Meat, JP does not stride around with plasters on his face with the sun reflecting on his gold teeth. Instead, he wears a burgundy Harbridge gilet, and carries a fountain pen in his shirt pocket. Conventionally, we picture ‘prepster poshies’ as having a combed quiff, smelling of leather and rowing everywhere in a perfectly synchronized formation. But no. It’s not Snoop Dog we should be blaming, it’s Vampire Weekend.

Regrettably, JP, as a media representation of youth, mirrors what’s happening behind the gates of Cambridge, Oxford and London. Our prestigious triangle is being abused beyond belief at the hands of the ‘poshies’. These middle-class social vigilante’s have been sitting on the old functionalist trophy shelf, planning their attacks within our strict social system. One explanation to this phenomenon, I feel, comes from their family and upbringing. Stemming from middle-class, privileged families, it can be hard to find time to spend with your parents. Typically hard working personality type A’s, recreational negligence becomes a factor for many middle class children, as their parents thrive in their top jobs. As they grow older, more and more expectation binds itself to the individual, leaving the pressures too great. In protest, the ‘poshies’ avoid rejection of their parents due to the resources they provide, and they use the rest of society as their bobo doll waiting to get battered.

By ingesting hard drugs, sampling the delights of the opposite sex and having a stable financial status, the rest of societies morals remains ignored and taken for granted by these individuals. While the rest of the nation homes in on the ‘yobs’, the ‘poshies’ go by playing polo through the halls of Cambridge without fear of detection or punishment. This issue has been brought up in further British media. In the 2005 British film Green Street, Matt Buckner, played by Elijah Wood, is expelled from Harvard University in America after cocaine, that was actually the possession of one of his peers, was found in his room. These may be vague media representations, but they must have been exhausted from valid external sources.

Self destruction, social ignorance and narrow mindedness from the polo wearing Jack Wills fan club is what potentially may be awaiting our government. After all, David Cameron was a product of middle-class Eton college and Oxford University, as are many of the Conservative party. In a country that demonises the working class youths as walking ASBO’s determined to destroy the fabric of our nation, we are turning a blind eye those with actual power and influence. And we are relying on the very people who are carving a social divide of classes to fix the problem we have with youths in Britain today.

According, Oxfords finest offspring, with their positive media perceptions and unflappable tolerance and social skills, they’re the perfect candidates to rule our country. Those who claim to be tackling the social problems we are facing, seem to the ones creating the problems in the first place. Coincidence? I think not.

Cocaine, tattoo’s and defacing The Clash. You’re going to have to do better than that.

Being in the news for breaking a ‘Golden rule’ doesn’t exactly mirror the great rebellion brought by the new wave revolution of the 50’s, or run parallel to the 1970’s punk movement, does it? Try telling X-Factors Frankie Cocozza that. The blow-snorting Brightonian has landed himself in hot water, and has turned the publics perceptions of youthful rebellion sour once more. Well, at least he thinks he has.

“Don’t accept the old order. Get rid of it”. Back in the mid seventies, these messiah like passages that quavered off of his raspy tongue summed up everything rebellion and punk culture represented. Anarchy, anti-conformism and freelance recreational mayhem, as if it was the most natural pass time in the world. Surprisingly, tattooing the names of all the speculative females you’ve claimed to have spent the night with on your arse was not quite what Johnny Rotten meant by objecting to the new order.

In a matter of weeks, the X-Factors Frankie Cocozza has gone from being another anonymous jelly bean in our British pick ‘n’ mix, to a media sensation. Bearing his painted bottom live on national television was a nice way to introduce himself, as he began his brief claim to fame on saturday night ITV television. Gathering a pre-teen fan base, and receiving a torrent of grumpy groans from the fathers of this particular collective of fans, an abrupt demise followed Frankie’s antics.

The flagitious producers of the talent show booted Cocozza off for breaking a ‘Golden rule’ of the show. A golden rule? Rings out the faint sound of the laws abided by in primary school. As a concept, Frankie Cocozza believes that he is made of an indestructible, versatile and unobtainable material. In actual fact, he is made of flesh and bone, just like the rest of us. To him, we boil and harden sitting at the same desk, filling out the same paper work and doing the same things for the same people day in and day out, while the sun gleefully shines out of his arse. Maybe it’s time Frankie was let into a few home truths.

Over the years, it has taken much, much more to gain rock and roll legend status than just snorting a few lines of cocaine. Jim Morrison, late singer of psych-rock quartet The Doors, used to simulate hardcore masturbation and oral sex on fellow band members on stage. That, Frankie Cocozza, is rock and roll. Another example is the antics of The Sex Pistols in their infamous interview with Bill Grundy. Swearing, smoking and bringing their roadies on set with them sparked off the fuse of the British punk phenomena.

Punk rock redefined the rock era in the mid 1970’s. These were the ever presently nostalgic and manic days were you could walk into a club wearing a suburban suit and domesticated haircut, and walk out five minutes later without your eyebrows and covered in cigarette burns on your scrotum. Jools Holland, former keyboardist of new wave outfit Squeeze, recalls walking into the after party of a Ramones gig and conversing with Joey Ramone while a groupie was “performing an act upon his member”. Now, you don’t get that on the X-Factor, do you?

So far, this article may pragmatically insinuate that I may be laying into the state of music as a generalisation. The fact of the matter is, actually, music is getting better and better. The creativity and presence of bands has evolved so much over the years, as well as the fan base of bands and artists. Rock and roll may not be a pure bread of musical pedigree anymore, but the tangents it spirals off into offers more varied and styles of music to date.Live performances, acoustic sets and studio sessions still pile the fans into the box office and record shops, regardless of reviews and opinions. Despite the drawbacks of the technology factors with CD’s going the way of vinyl, and slowly becoming obsolete, amongst other things, the state of music has never been healthier, or more hell raising.

Disputably, the cynics will tell you that the ecstasy fueled rave days are over, Woodstockian hippy fiasco’s have died, and the ripping out of safety pins from ears has been blocked by health and safety. However, the postmodernists of today will tell you, that these eras have all joined together, rather than perished. Recreational drugs use amongst festivals, gigs and even lazy days in the park is still rife. Yes, it’s very, very illegal. But surely, that’s what rock and roll is?

Conclusively, it’s people like Cocozza that have created the assumption that ‘rock and roll is dead’. The majority of modern music is continuously evolving and maturing with age, regardless of what the critics say. The Cocozza influence, thankfully, will drown into the past, along with Jedward, The Fast Food Rockers, and most of Foreigner. Flicking back the pages of the musical history book, it’s easy to see why Frankie Cocozza wont make it into the rock and roll hall of fame. He’s not talented, he has no rock or punk factor about him, and he has no significant following of any kind.

So Frankie, you can take your cocaine, keep your silly arse tattoo’s and womanize all you like. Evidently, the facts weigh up against you. You’re about as rock and roll as Enya, and nothing’s going to change that.


Caught in the Crossfire. Shots that you’ll find difficult to avoid.

 Most of todays music seems to be finger tipping the minor and underground audio outputs of regional teenage bedrooms. Even with the backing of a dedicated and motivated record label, band ethic and stripped down talent, it’s a hard business to crack. Having said that, Caught in the Crossfire seem to be shooting their way in at a fast velocity. Will the toughest industry in the world wave the white flag and surrender to the Salisbury based band?

Statistically, eighty five percent of bands fail to part the seas keeping them from their ultimate target of being a successful band. The majority either play victim to each other, becoming their own demise as their friendships labour and fray overtime. Or the collective members don’t have the innate ability to catch the ears of their listeners alight. Whatever the outcome, the application and persistence numerically swings the way of Ol’ Yellow, and dreams soon become part time jobs and alternative career choices.

However, the inventiveness and fortuitous characteristics of the new music business always props up glimmers of hope and ability with select groups and artists, that unfortunately only seem to make attenuated appearances. Wiltshire originated collective Caught in the Crossfire have subjected the rising Bristol music scene to their friendly fire, and taking many casualties in the process. After only one solitary year since their first gig as a small Salisbury arts centre, Caught In The Crossfire have festered their way as far as The Joiners in Southampton, to Redfest, Bristol.

Made up of Vocalist Sadie Lee Cooper, guitarists Josh Mobaraki and Same Pearcey, bass player Luke Bennet and animalistic drummer Ian Grinter, the five-piece have recently completed a support slots touring with MiddleNameKill and City stereo. With new seeds being planted, the band are hoping for new stages of their musical career to sprout in the next year. With Dead Famous Records, Caught In The Crossfire have turned the amps down and wiped the sweat off their foreheads for the time being as they concentrate on their debut LP.

Echoing the harmonic post-rock sounds of acts like Explosions In The Sky and The Joy Formidable, and the vocal dispositions of pop-punk/rock groups such as Box Car Racer and Death Cab For Cutie,  Caught In The Crossfire are something to be desired. With a raw intensity live on the stage that ranges from their soft stripped down plucked guitar sounds, to the assailing wall of post-rock feedback, Caught In The Crossfire spring across the stage with smiles plastered on their faces. The flocculent harmonies and licks of the guitars compliment the alluringly mezzo-soprano vocals of Sadie Lee Cooper, and narrow the exclusivity of the bands sound. Following the wall of astonishing melodic resonance of a Caught In The Crossfire performance, listeners are left with goosebumps stamped on their arms, and memorable post-punk tunes streamed into their phonological loop. And they wont be pressing the shuffle button anytime soon.

As the harsh competitive essence of the music industry increases, the convention is that band after band go unrecognised. Even after years of trying to puncture what seems like an unbreakable skin, the efforts of a group lead to their disintegration. However, Caught In The Crossfire will be taking their Salisbury sound internationally. The post-rock troop have penciled in a performance at the German Rock Awards for the 18th of November. With an ever surging regional and international fan base, endlessly enriching sound and vivacious characteristics, one of those rare breakthrough occasions seems to be coming over the horizon.

In tracks like ‘Waves’ and ‘Although We Don’t Believe, We Breath’, Caught In The Crossfire bring all of the submerged coruscate melodies of vocal pop-punk, fused with the thumping snare fills and thrashing guitar riffs of post-rock. Each member of the Salisbury quintet compliments the other, harmonising and gelling together without dispute or disruption. Effortlessly, the youthful teenage complexion and romantic nostalgia of their songs underlines their enchanting and energetic presence to the listener.

Every band has a moment in their career where they are told whether they have got what it takes to writhe their way into the inner circle of the most emulous business in the world. Caught In The Crossfire find themselves in a position where they can knock and the door and await their fate. Instead, they’ll try to break the door down entirely, just because thats how the cognition of the post-rock fivesome works. With the brimful backing of their Bristol based record label, Dead Famous Records, and their inspiring dauntlessness, Caught In The Crossfire wont be doing anything quietly for some time to come.

Yes, statistically, eighty five percent of bands do not make it into the industry that they have dreamed of since formation. Every band with a flicker of potential and ardor dream of headlining Glastonbury, or replicating what their charlatans did before them, and eventually find themselves stacking shelves at Comet. When it comes down to Caught In The Crossfire? Well, I’m with the minority statistic on this one.